What (books) are you reading?


Obsessively signs his posts
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Starting a thread to talk about fiction books that we read (Odd that we have threads for so many other things, but not books themselves).

I like listening to audiobooks when I jog/run in the mornings. Stumbled across,

"The Ritualist" by Dakota Krout (The Completionist Chronicles Book 1)

Am not sure what I was expecting when I picked this up. Or a better statement would be that I have no idea why I continued to listen/read. Probably a stubbornness about having paid for the thing - after that initial hurdle, the world sucked me in so much that I listened/read the rest of the series. My verdict is that this is a nice time-pass novel. In some ways you can compare it to a japanese isekai novel. Some "things" happen in the real world, our protagonist goes to a virtual world, meets a "hidden" god, gets special powers and is able to make the new world a better place.

While I won't call the protagonist a Mary Sue (or Marty Sue) character - he does come close. The good news is that he does not solve every problem he encounters immediately. The counter-point is that issues (except the over-arching plot) does get resolved within a few chapters. Which makes this a nice book to just pick up, read a bit, put down, forget things and pick up again. It's not for everyone - but I was in a mood and it worked for me when I read it.

I really liked the virutal-world building. What I did not like were the real-world segways. There is a really strange (and odd) reference to Elon Musk, the protagonist's military career, divorce and medical condition in the first 3 or 6 chapters that turned me off. As in - they really turned me off. I stopped listening for some days before picking the book up again. They do not add anything significant to the plot besides explaining how our protagonist got into the game-world.

"Regicide" (The Completionist Chronicles Book 2)

Thankfully, the real-world building is not needed here. Protagonist is already in the virtual world and we don't need all that fluff. A *much* more enjoyable book than the first one. On one level, this concludes a big plot-line (or "quest") which started in the first book. Our Main Character (MC) gets more powerful, has issues to deal with, and all-in-all things smooth out alright. There *is* a world-breaking thing which happens at the end which isn't explained in this book, but rather in the next one (of the mainline series). I liked this book. A significant thing which happens in the book is that the MC forms his own party - I liked the banter between the members.

"Rexus: Side Quest" (The Completionist Chronicles Book 3)

The first side-quest book, focusing on one of the members of our MC's party. This was fun read - but I felt it was distracting. In the sense that I was now reading the story about this Isekai-ed fellow in a virtual world doing things and was interested to know more about the larger plot. This book? Just puts all that aside and focuses on a single party member who decides to go on his merry way doing his own thing and having fun. And I must say - this *is* a fun book. Not what I expected, but it was entertaining.

"Raze" (The Completionist Chronicles Book 4)

We come back to our MC, who now needs to do stuff to help his guild. I *think* this is the book where the "real" world gets destroyed. Now, that should be a "spoiler" but if you are reading this series, I doubt if you care about what's happening on earth. Good riddance, I say. I came here for a game-world and its a nice thing that the other world is gone. Why did it happen? Personally, I don't care and hope it will be hand-waved or something.
Speaking of hand-waving, you would need to put up with that in this book. After the events of the second book, it *should* be obvious that our MC is a Significant Person Of Interest in the game-world. It's just bizarre to see other factions or guilds treating him as if he's not so great. Ignoring that, the book's good. Our MC faces some real challenges in here - which he handily resolves and by the end, becomes a well-known figure.

"Ruthless" (The Completionist Chronicles Book 5)

This is the last book in the series that I got my hands on. At least, more have not yet been published. After the events in book 2 and 4, there is a general understanding that another world/realm exists out there. At the end of this book, our MC gets sent there. What happens during the book? Well, remember all the folks he "defeated" in the earlier books? They kind-of gang up and try to take him out. And he responds in a very fitting, but extreme manner. The title of the book is called "Ruthless" for a reason. The conclusion of the book has me upset. There's a judgement which happens and I'm left wondering if the human kingdom is two-dimensional. Then again, this *is* supposed to be a game world.

Conclusion: I will recommend this as a nice book to check out from a library. It's an o-kay timepass. In one sentence? "Isekai transported into game-world". You'll either enjoy it or hate it. Me? There are times when I do not want to read a heavy book and want something light-hearted. This fit the bill.

After reading/listening to all these books, I got sucked into LitRPG books. Will write some impressions of them later - this post is big enough. :)



Obsessively signs his posts
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Sufficiently Advanced Magic (Arcane Ascension Book 1) by Andrew Rowe

I'm about ~40% of the way through this book. In some ways, the plot has elements from Tower of God - in that there's a tower with shifting rooms for people to climb and gain skills. Unlike TOG, there is a world outside the Towers. And some nice politics and world-building.

Point where I'm at - the protagonist has finished his first tower-climb and gained some skills ... which are a bit dubious. He's now in an academy learning stuff. Reminds me a bit of Hogwarts - but this is military oriented. Some strange things are happening - all in all, I'm still hooked to read more. :)



Obsessively signs his posts
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I finished "Sufficiently Advanced Magic" (SAM for short) - it was a good read. And gets my recommendation!

In some ways, this compares to the Dresden Files. In both books, the protagonist is up against heavy odds. And *unlike* a Mary Sue story, has to actually work hard to win. There are fights in SAM where I could not tell who would win. It does not happen within SAM - but battles/fights do have *consequences*. I've started reading the second book in the Arcane Ascension series and folks have scars.

The world-building has me a bit confused - but that could be because I speed-read sections and might have missed stuff. I got my copy from amazon,


with Kindle unlimited. At CDN $6+tax for the digital copy, I think this is worth the price.



Knower of Stuff
I just finished re-reading The Redemption of Althalus written by David and Leigh Eddings. It's one of my "Guilty Pleasures" in that it's a bit Sue-ish as far as characters go, but it has a wonderful world built up in the span of the book.

It stars the titular Althalus who's a thief that is hired to steal a book from the "House at the Edge of the World" and the adventures that result from him taking this job.

David Eddings is most known for writing the "Belgariad" series and it's sequel, the "Malloreon" series.


Obsessively signs his posts
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I finished reading the first 4 books of "The Wraith's Haunt" by Hugo Heusca. The individual titles are,

Dungeon Lord
Dungeon Lord: Otherworldly Powers
Dungeon Lord: Abominable Creatures
Dungeon Lord: Ancient Traditions

This isn't the adult section of the forum, so I will warn you that the first 2 books have ... not child friendly material (of the ecchi variety). It isn't the point of the books - more like a thing which happens. It was surprising that the author decided not to include it in the latter books - and the books are better for it, IMO.

The first book is, well, a vanilla story about a guy on earth (named Edward or Ed for short) who plays MMO games. His boss is rude to him to the point that he snaps and responds violently. The "boss" arguably deserved it, but Ed was lawfully apprehended by the cops. Before he gets to prison, an other-worldly being offers him a deal - to become a Dungeon Lord in another world. There are some story bits that I'll skip, but suffice to say, he accepts. In the new world Ed does not start out with any special powers. In fact, he gets thrown into a fight in which he almost dies.

Ed has an interesting moral compass - he does not want to gain power by sacrificing innocents, but the being who offered him power has a bet that the power he has would corrupt him sooner or later. This is nicely contrasted in the fourth book, where he (relative to the first book), is a lot more pragmatic - BUT, he's trying really hard not to spill innocent blood. It makes him a really odd outlier in the magic world where every other Dungeon Lord does so to gain power.

To bring the story back to the beginning, the magic/fantasy world he gets sent to? It's the same one he played in his MMO games - only, he's on the other side now. i.e. in the games, he played the part of a hero, but now that he's actually living there, he's supposedly a villain.

So you have this background where, while Edward does not want to be a villain (and to be fair, tries really hard not to be one), just because he's a Dungeon Lord, everyone else assumes that he's evil and won't give him a fair chance - not even the so-called Goddess of Light.

The first book is about him setting up a base and fighting for it.

The second book is about some folks attempting to get revenge on him for beating them in the first book. To use ice cream as a comparion, the first book is vanilla - it's good stuff, but nothing special. The second book is like premium vanilla - you've likely seen a similar plot before, but it is noticeably a better product.

The third book is when the story really starts to shine - I was about the half or 3/4th way through the book when I though to myself, "This NEEDS to be recommended". The writing is excellent, the plot has its fair share of tension, dramatic moments - it *is* worth reading.

The fourth book ... I'm torn about my feelings on the fourth book. For the most part, it's an easy recommendation. I was hooked to the story and had a really hard time doing anything else at home - I just kept reading and reading. What I'm torn about is that the plot goes in a certain way which I do not like for meta-reasons. Saying too much would be spoiler territory, but I will say the book is worth reading. There is a wonderful story in there.

I read these books on a Kindle unlimited subscription - it's worth it for that price. The paperback versions of these books (on average) are CDN $20 , which I feel is too high. The digital kindle versions are about $8/each and that feels worth it.

That depends on what I want to read at the moment, but I've been reading Hammer's Slammers, The Deacon's Tale, among other books...